Equal parts finger-picking and punk
The Dead South share a string-laced take on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” with banjo and mandolin twined around sparse cello and forlorn baritone vocals.
The new cover is found on Easy Listening for Jerks Part 1, half of a forthcoming double EP set that travels from nitty-gritty Nashville to west coast weird and back again, putting The Dead South’s renegade acoustic approach to classics of two very different sorts.
With banjo, mandolin, cello and guitar, The Dead South certainly look like the part of bluegrass traditionalists. But, as outsiders to the bluegrass world by circumstances of geography, they’re from the Canadian prairies, and by influences, equal parts finger-picking and punk, there are few comparisons to be made for the four-piece acoustic band. With a global following sparked by YouTube, early success in German rock clubs and now, sold-out shows at iconic venues in many continents, this is no country for old-time string purists.
A brotherhood first and foremost, formed in university and forged on the road, The Dead South are quite comfortable in their role as a total anomaly most everywhere they go. Their progressive, tightly-constructed approach to acoustic music that favours intricate solos and harmonies has brought two JUNO Awards for Traditional Album of the Year, the most recent for the Muscle Shoals-made Sugar & Joy (2019). The Dead South followed up in 2020 with Served Live, a double live album that celebrated and supported the live music industry in a time of crisis.
With their newly-announced double EPs Easy Listening for Jerks, Parts I & II, The Dead South find their own balance between their punk origins and the bluegrass world of their sound. A strong statement about identity, influence and inspiration, the new EPs show a band stepping out into new musical territory while also staying true to themselves.
Served Cold Tour
ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Jannus Live, May 11
ORLANDO, FL: House of Blues, May 12
ATLANTA, GA: Buckhead Theatre, May 13
CHARLOTTE, NC: Fillmore Charlotte, May 14
RALEIGH, NC: The Ritz, May 15
RICHMOND, VA: The National, May 17*
BOSTON, MA: House of Blues, May 18
ITHACA, NY: State Theatre, May 19*
PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Fillmore, May 20
NEW YORK, NY: Irving Plaza, May 21
*Not a Live Nation Date
London, UK: Shepherds Bush Empire, Mar 18
Manchester, UK: Albert Hall, Mar 19
Tunbridge Wells, UK: Black Deer Festival, June 19
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Junction, June 21
Coventry, UK: Empire Coventry, June 22
Cardiff, UK: Tramshed, June 23
Paris, FR: La Cigale, Apr 11
Strasbourg, FR: La Laiterie, Apr 12
Lyon, FR: Ninkasi Kao, Apr 15
Toulouse, FR: Le Metronum, Apr 19
For additional tour dates, see https://www.thedeadsouth.com/tour for full list of 2022 dates